If you’re hoping to globe-trot through Asia like Indiana Jones, planning is half the battle. Asia has so much to offer, and you will want to ensure you’re getting the full, wonderful experience.
What do I pack? When is the best time to go? What should I eat or not eat? There will be unavoidable bumps in the road (literally and figuratively), but we’re here to help you avoid as many of them as possible.
Here are some helpful travel tips for your trip to Asia. Bon voyage!
Selecting a destination
There are 48 countries in Asia, and all offer visitors something special and unique in their own way. Depending on how much time you have allotted for your trip, you will have to narrow down which spots work best for you.
If you want to get a taste of all the excitement that Asia has to offer, a great option is the combination of Hong Kong and Vietnam. These two destinations present an exciting mix of urbanized and emerging communities, and they both have natural and manmade beauty, rich culture, and delicious food. Plus, they’re only 1.5 hours apart via a Hong Kong Airlines flight!
What to pack
Of course, this depends on your destination as well, but if you are going to any sub-tropical or tropical areas of the continent in the April-September range, you need to be prepared for very hot and humid weather! Bring layers for the plane and a light rain jacket for any tropical monsoons, but other than that, light clothing is best. Ladies, it’s a good idea to bring a shawl to cover your shoulders for any temples or sacred spaces (and trust us, you’ll see a lot of these in Asia).
Also, don’t forget your bathing suit — you’re going to want to hit the beach!
Travel in comfort
You’ll likely be taking various forms of transport throughout your trip through Asia, so our advice is to make yourself as comfortable as possible! If you fly Hong Kong Airlines, you can start getting comfy right away with an inflight Skybar and attentive, impeccable service from a world-class team of flight attendants.
But that’s not all: You’ll be equipped with all the necessities for a comfy flight thanks to their Business class amenity kit that was curated by Hong Kong design house, Ricebowl Republic, in partnership with Clip.
The kit includes specially designed eye masks and socks, along with earplugs, an oral hygiene kit, and shea-butter lip balm and hand cream from French skin care brand, L’Occitane. The best part is, you can use these items throughout your entire trip, not just the flight! (Don’t travel hard; travel smart.)
Take advantage of tours
Local tours offer a number of benefits to travellers. Landing in a new city can be quite overwhelming and you may not know where to start exploring. Tour groups are a great way to ensure you don’t miss out on any must-sees in your destination, and to receive local knowledge along the way. They can also get you access to some activities and equipment that may be difficult to source on your own!
For example, Wild Hong Kong adventure and eco tours plan a variety of outdoor activities that provide a unique experience in this bustling commercial hub. This tour group will set you up with kayaks to explore the island-dotted district of Sai Kung, and show you a side of Hong Kong that you may have not even known existed!
What to eat (or not eat)
If you travel for food, we salute you. We are firm believers in trying the local delicacies wherever you travel, and everyone knows that Asia offers some of the most mouth-watering cuisines on the planet.
However, there are some items that you should be cautious of no matter where you are travelling, but especially in developing countries. While street food can be the best way to get a taste for a country, be wary of spots that have their ingredients sitting out in the open or questionable sanitary conditions. When it comes to ice or water, it’s best to avoid the tap unless you’re sure that it is safe to drink — when in doubt, go with bottled water and an iceless beverage!
Mark your map
One of our favourite travel tips is to rely on Google Maps. Download the offline version of the map of your destination prior to landing, and “save” your key places using the “Favorites,” “Want to go,” or “Starred places” icons. This will allow you to navigate your way around town seamlessly, by orienting yourself in relation to the places you are familiar with.
Dropping pins for the restaurants, bars, museums, etc. that you want to visit means that you will always have them marked on your map, and when you see your little blue dot moving towards a place you had saved, you can just pop on over!
When to travel
When travelling to the southern areas of Asia, such as Hong Kong and Vietnam, the best months to travel are September-April. The reason, as you may have guessed based on our “What to pack” tip, is that the summer is just so damn hot!
The humidity is next level and you will find yourself sweatin’ through your clothes the second you get outside. Air conditioning and refreshing swims in the sea will definitely help, so if summer’s your only option, a hot trip to Asia is better than no trip to Asia. However, if you’re looking for a more comfortable temperature, the fall/winter/spring months are your best bet.
Book according to your travel style
You know yourself best; if you’re a planner and want to go on a trip without having to worry about booking your next mode of transport or accommodation, then do yourself a favour and book everything ahead of time.
However, if you’re looking to wander your way through Asia and allow more flexibility as to how long you will stay in each place, there are still usually some last-minute booking options that you can snag.
Once you figure out what kind of traveller you are, finding travel buddies who have a similar style to you will help avoid any booking-related conflicts during your travels!
Research, research, research
Our best piece of advice, once you have nailed down your specific destinations and what type of trip you’d like to have, is to do your research! Check out the travel advisories, the weather forecast, reviews from fellow travellers, any vaccines you may need, and anything else you can think of.
Pro tip: If you really want to be ahead of the curve once you touch down in HK, go ahead and download the My Hong Kong Guide from the App Store or the Google Play Store. You’ll be set to the explore the city at your own pace, with point-to-point navigation, eCoupons, and travel tips. You’ll be glad you took the extra step to get the most out of your trip!
Every destination in Asia presents its own set of opportunities and challenges, and learning what you’re in for is the best way to set yourself up for success!
Set yourself up for success in the best way possible with flights from Hong Kong Airlines.
Now that you’re all set for your trip, there’s one last thing to do: Post it all over Instagram, of course! Don’t forget to post your photos using #dailyhivemapped #travel2HongKong, and #HKAirlines.
For more information on Hong Kong, visit Discover Hong Kong.
For more information on Vietnam, visit Bestway Tours & Safaris.
Enter for your chance to win the following prize:
- 2 x Economy class return tickets from Vancouver – Hong Kong – Ho Chi Minh City, provided by Hong Kong Airlines
- 3 x nights accommodation in Hong Kong for two people on a twin-sharing basis, provided by Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)
- Airport-hotel return transfers
- Two tours for two people in Hong Kong (choice of hotel and tours are at the discretion of HKTB)
- A trip for 2 people to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, provided by Bestway Tours & Safaris
- 3 x nights accommodation for two people (choice of hotel and program are at the discretion of Bestway Tours & Safaris)
- Transfer services
- Entrance fees and boat fees where applicable
- Vietnam Visa on Arrival Approval letter
- Pre-arranged meals
- Guided by an English-speaking local guide
Blackout dates: 11 December 2018 – 5 January 2019, 29 January – 17 February 2019, 16-25 April 2019, 22 Jun – 10 Sep 2019, 11 December – 5 January 2020
To enter for your chance to win the prize listed above, courtesy of Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Bestway Tours & Safaris, fill in the Google form below:
Contest entries will be accepted from the time and date of publishing until 11:59 pm on December 10, 2018. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted directly from Hong Kong Airlines.